Illinois Learn with Dignity Act requires free feminine hygiene products for students

Dea Sulejmani, asst. news editor

South began supplying pads and tampons in the girls’ bathrooms without charge in October in compliance with the Illinois Learn with Dignity Act which requires all public schools of grades 6-12 to provide free feminine hygiene products in restrooms, according to Kim Ptak, director of operations for District 225.

South has always made free pads and tampons available to students in the nurse’s office, but in the past, South utilized dispensers that required payment. The dispensers were taken out because the coins got jammed. Nurse Karen Hyman believes that carrying the products in the restrooms creates minimal disruption amongst students and their day.

“I think the law is very good. [Now you don’t have to come] down to the [nurse’s office,] sign in and wait your turn. [With the new system] you could get [what you need] and go right back to class,” Hyman said.

Ptak, along with the maintenance and custodial staff, identified what type of industrial machines the school needed to provide both products in school. The machine chosen for South limits the amount of products being taken.

“One of the pieces that the machine has, [causes] a slight delay,” Ptak said. “The idea is someone couldn’t just take a handful of products, it would be delayed by a couple seconds.”

Ptak believes that the products are crucial to people because it is important for everyone to be in a comfortable environment at school.

“[The law] addresses a need that female students have, [and] that male students wouldn’t have,” Ptak said. “Most of the public acts address the needs of every student, where this is a unique one, in that it is  addressing a female need.”